Drinkaware kits help users cut down on alcohol

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‘What’s in your glass?’ kits developed by alcohol education charity Drinkaware have helped to change drinking behaviour. More than six in 10 people (63%) who used the kit said it helped them cut back on the number of units they drank, a new independent report reveals.

The kit is the key element of a pilot campaign, developed in partnership with Berkshire Public Health and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee, which ran in 151 local pharmacies during Alcohol Awareness Week last year. The kit, which contains an alcohol unit measure cup, calorie and unit wheel and information booklet, was independently evaluated by Shared Intelligence and shown to help people change their drinking behaviour and cut down on alcohol.

The different elements of the kit were found to be useful in different ways. The cup allowed consumers to make a tangible link between their current drinking habits and the number of units they were consuming. In many cases they had significantly underestimated their unit consumption.  Calories consumed through alcohol were measured through use of the wheel and the booklet allowed people to keep track of how much they were drinking. As a result, people were prompted to reflect on their drinking behaviour, and for a significant number, the kit helped them reduce the amount they were drinking.

 Additional findings show:

  • Nearly everyone (93%) who used it said the kits helped them visualise how many units there are in alcoholic drinks
  • 83% said it helped them understand the unit guidelines and three in four became more aware of their own drinking habits
  • Nearly six in 10 (58%) switched to lower-strength drinks
  • Over half (52%) said the kit helped them reduce the number of days they drank alcohol on.

Being given a practical kit with tangible products, rather than simply being told what to do, was one of the most helpful aspects of the kit. Many people also involved their friends and family when using the kit, which the research concludes is indicative that support and encouragement help people make and sustain healthier lifestyle choices.

The kit was popular with pharmacists who found the design appealing and the tone of the written information helped them spark conversations about alcohol with their customers in a non-judgmental way. Most customers who picked up a kit said they were curious about it and found the bright and colourful design appealing.

These results have been gleaned through qualitative and quantitative research, including a survey and focus groups with Berkshire residents who picked up the free kit from a local pharmacy. Drinkaware will now build upon this study to explore how the kit can evolve and support further behaviour change.

Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, says: “We are thrilled with the results of this pilot trial to test how we can effectively support people to cut down. The results demonstrate that, by giving consumers the right support and information, we can achieve real and sustained positive behaviour change – something that Drinkaware as a charity is striving for across all our work. The partnership-working model with Berkshire Public Health and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee is one of the key reasons for the success of this campaign, and I am grateful for their guidance and support during the trial. We will learn from this evaluation and continue to help people make informed choices, and support them to change their drinking behaviour for the better.”

Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health, Bracknell Forest Council, Berkshire, says “By joining forces with Drinkaware and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee we managed to deliver a truly innovative campaign.  The kit brought a smile to people's faces and enabled us to give important information in a positive way.   We are really pleased with the evaluation results and will continue to build on this work in our local area.”

The kits were created for the purposes of this pilot project only, though individual elements such as the unit measure cup and calorie wheel can be ordered for free from the Drinkaware website at resources.drinkaware.co.uk. 

Ends

Contact:

Sohila Sawhney Communications Officer on ssawhney@drinkaware.co.uk / 0207 766 9910 / 07917 135436

Helen O’Connor Marketing and Communications Assistant on hoconnor@drinkaware.co.uk / 0207 766 9910 / 07743 572264

Notes to Editors:

  • Pictures of the kit available on request
  • A full copy of the evaluation report by Shared Intelligence is available at http://bit.ly/1indEnu   
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, stick to the government’s lower risk guidelines which advise that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units daily (equivalent to a 175ml glass of 13% wine) and that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units daily (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer). ‘Regularly’ means drinking every day or most days of the week.
  • Drinkaware is an independent organisation which aims to get people to think differently about alcohol. Our entire focus is on getting people to understand the harm it can do to their health, families and those around them. If people understand the impact drink can have, they’re more likely to make a change. An independent charity established in 2007, Drinkaware works alongside the medical profession, the alcohol industry and government to achieve its goals.  For further information visit www.drinkaware.co.uk 
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